Reading "Superboy" #9, it's hard to ignore the fact that Lemire and Gallo's run comes to a conclusion in which to do so.) Last issue's sudden shift to Superboy and company finding the location of his enemies had felt a bit rushed, and there are portions of this issue that fall into the same boat.
Fortunately, it's an entertaining story, so while it's moving at a brisk pace, it's still enjoyable. Lemire is bringing everything to a head here: Psionic Lad's hidden plan is coming to light, we find out exactly why the Phantom Stranger's been popping up and downright interfering as of late, and of course, the question behind the Hollow Men and how they're tied to Superboy is answered. It's a lot to cram into just 20 pages, and it's to Lemire's credit that it doesn't turn into a jumble.
At the same time, though, it's frustrating to see little moments like Simon Valentine suggesting a new codename for Psionic Lad. It feels like the set-up to more stories down the road, ones that are getting truncated with September re-launch of the DC Universe. Likewise, with the surprise return of a villain that appeared earlier in the series, it feels like Lemire was doing his best to create a robust rogues gallery for Superboy, and it's something that's winding down faster than expected.
Gallo's pencils are some of the nicer ones we've had from him; his figures are always good, but everyone feels a little looser and more lifelike. Hopefully we'll see more of Gallo once "Superboy" is over, because he's shown a great deal of growth artistically since his first issue of "Superboy." In another year or two, at the rate he's going, he's going to start knocking people's socks off.
With the comic almost over, Lemire is pulling out his surprises, and it's nice to get a cliffhanger which not only will catch most readers off guard, but also suddenly explains a great deal about the story to date. It's a fun twist, and it's another reminder to check out Lemire's two new series ("Animal Man" and "Frankenstein, Agent of S.H.A.D.E.") this next month. (Happily, they're getting two issues fall. I've grown to look forward to new issues of "Superboy," and while this one didn't disappoint, it's a shame there are only two more to come.